Seed World

What’s the Value, Really, Of the Little Blue Tag?

At the 2023 AOSCA Annual Meeting in Bloomington, Minnesota (June – 7, 2023), Young sat down for a Giant Views interview with Aiden Brook, director of partner development at Seed World Group. After chatting about Young’s somewhat accidental start in the seed sector, his ‘in the trenches’ management style and the lessons he’s learned from client relationships, Young dove into discussion about certified seed. He said the agriculture industry still has room — significant room — to improve its understanding of the value attached to certified seed’s little blue tag. 

“The misconception is that everything is the same in a bag… [but] certified is held to such a higher standard compared to what else might be on the market,” he said. 

“That’s where we have to separate ourselves and improve on [explaining] what the blue tag certification really is and what it means. Just in general, people look at it and say it’s not any different, when actually there is a huge value difference in the quality that you get out of a certified product.”

Young is not critical of farmers’ lack of understanding. In fact, he says he himself, despite being a farm kid, didn’t always place enough value on certification either.

“I grew up raising tobacco and planting hay fields. We were buying from our local co-op. I didn’t even know about seed certification…. To me, you [just went] to the co-op and got a bag.” 

Today, his outlook is very different. When he happens to be in his local ag supply store at home, he can’t help looking at tags on seed bags. He wishes more farmers would do the same.

“Now that I have my job and my background, I go in there and I’m looking at seed tags just because that’s how my mind works. And I’m like, wow, this [non-certified] 50lb bag has three-quarters of a pound of weed seed in it. Why would you want to plant that in your field? And then a farmer walks by and grabs the seed… and I’m like, you’re just putting more weed seed up.… And then you’ll see a certified tag that has, you know, 0% or 0.1% weed seed…. That’s what you get out of a certified product.”